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Charlie’s Find – flash fiction

May 11, 2016

Charlie’s Find

“Come on, Charlie! We’re going to Grans’ house,” Charlie’s mom yelled from the bottom of the stairs.

Charlie loved going to Grans. Her house and surrounding property was an oasis of mystery and fun. He clamored down the stairs as fast as his short legs would carry him and met up with his mom and dad by the front door.

“Put on a jacket, son. It’s windy today,” his dad reminded him.

Charlie grabbed his jacket off of the kid-leveled coat peg and slipped it on. He was so excited that when he buttoned it up, it was lopsided. He’d skipped a button or two, but he didn’t care and apparently his parents hadn’t noticed. Charlie bound out of the house and ran to the car. He settled into his bumper seat and waited for his mom to fasten him in.

The drive to Grans took nearly an hour, but Charlie barely noticed the time. He stared out the window at the passing landscapes. First the city streets sped by and then they crossed the Jackson Bridge. From there on out to Grans was nothing but farmland. Charlie was fascinated by the big red barns and rows of wheat fields. He mooed at the cows and naaed at the horses. And then he recognized the landmark that reminded him they were nearly at Grans’ house. The large silo stood out in the middle of a field as tall as anything Charlie could imagine. It’s grey steel exterior reminded him of a soup can which always caused him to giggle.

When they arrived at Grans, Charlie hugged her and gave her a peck on the cheek before charging through the house and out to the back screened-in porch. This was his favorite spot. In the far corner was a set of cement stairs that led down to the cellar. Charlie didn’t know what a cellar was, but he did know it was dark and filled with insects. He grabbed the flashlight that Grans always kept for him at the top of the stairs and slowly descended one step at a time. At the bottom, he opened the green wooden door which creaked and moaned from the rusted hinges.

Charlie entered the dark space and shivered. He was glad he’d worn his jacket. He pointed his head upward and inhaled the scent of rich earth. He loved that smell. It reminded him of the farmlands they’d passed on the way there. He stepped inside and got down on all fours, crawling through the dirt until he was about midway into the cellar. With the flashlight in one hand, he dug into the dirt with the other. After a few minutes, he pulled up the small metal box that he’d buried there the last time they’d visited. He sat down and opened the box. Inside were small rocks he’d uncovered, a few rusted bottle caps and a snail’s shell. Charlie was proud of his collection. He closed the box and sat it on the ground beside him. He shown the flashlight along the jar-lined walls and down to the dirt floor. He spotted something in the corner of the room. It glistened when the light hit it. Charlie crawled over to it. Wedged between two medium-sized rocks was a small bronze disk. He wiggled it free and held it up in front of his face. He could only make out a star on the front of it. Excited by his find, he ran out of the cellar and up the stairs.

“Daddy, daddy!” he yelled as he entered the kitchen.

His dad, mom and Grans sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee. When they saw Charlie scamper into the room, they all turned their heads. Charlie stood at the door, his face, knees and hands covered in dirt. He wiped his feet on the brown rug and ran over to his dad.

“Look what I found!” he said holding out his grimy hand.

His dad took the coin and placed it on the red-cloth covered table. He recognized it right away. Tears welled up in his eyes.

“What is it, daddy?” Charlie asked as he tugged at his dad’s jacket.

Charlie’s dad brushed a tear from his cheek and then scooped his five year old up onto his lap. “This is called the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal,” he whispered solemnly.

“Is it yours?” Charlie asked.

His dad picked up the medal and rolled it around in his hand. “Yes, it’s mine.”

“Your father was in the reserves, Charlie. He went all over the country helping out with natural disasters,” Grans told him.

“Like tornadoes and hurricanes?” Charlie had seen those on television.

“Yes, just like that,” Charlie’s mom said.

“Wow, daddy. You’re a hero! Why’d you leave it in the cellar, daddy?”

Charlie’s dad didn’t want to tell him about all of the death and destruction he’d seen. Nor about the day he discovered that those in need hadn’t received the help they’d been promised by FEMA. He’d felt betrayed by the government and in a fit of anger, he’d thrown the medal into the cellar.

“For safe-keeping,” Charlie’s dad finally said after a long pause.

“And for me to find?”

“Yes, Charlie. For you to find.”

Charlie leapt down off of his dad’s lap, grabbed the medal and bolted out of the kitchen. He ran back down to the cellar, placed the medal inside his metal box and buried it in the rich earth.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(913 Words)


Each day in May, I will be participating in the StoryADay in May. Here is today’s prompt:

Via Julie – Write a story in which the setting is key

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4 Comments
  1. jeff permalink

    I’m loving your story a day in may series. Jeff

    On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 4:53 AM, Promptly Written wrote:

    > Lori Carlson posted: “Charlie’s Find “Come on, Charlie! We’re going to > Grans’ house,” Charlie’s mom yelled from the bottom of the stairs. Charlie > loved going to Grans. Her house and surrounding property was an oasis of > mystery and fun. He clamored down the stairs as fast as h” >

  2. Such a sweet story, Lori 🙂 Charlie’s dad will always be a hero in his eyes.

  3. A lovely story, :).

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